At my pro bono legal clinic, a client tells me in a hesitant voice, “Pastor Paul, even my pastor at my church does not know what I am going to tell you now,” signaling me to keep the story confidential. As an attorney, I assure the client of the attorney-client privilege. Only then, they get to share with me their life in detail in an effort to seek legal advice. I hear and feel their stories of unbearable pain and suffering such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. Yes. Their voices are those of the immigrants in the Triangle Area.
I decided to go to law school after 8 years of pastoral ministry because I became frustrated with my apparent inability to offer tangible help to the hurting people in the community. Isaiah 58 certainly exposes the danger of worship without administering justice among fellow humans. Too many immigrants are living in unjust fear with no hope. Even Jesus experienced intolerable fear and pain. And he finally died on Friday, seemingly presenting no hope. However, Jesus knew that Sunday was coming. It seems that too many immigrants are facing the same Friday as Jesus did.
I am a voice announcing to the hurting immigrants walking in parched places that Sunday is coming. As Isaiah dared to imagine a restored community depicted as a watered garden whose waters never fail even in parched places, we also must imagine a world in which Christians walk in solidarity with the suffering immigrants. I am burdened to be a part of the stories of the immigrants’ affliction and anguish. However, I am praying that God makes strong not only my bones but also the bones of the immigrants so we can continue to walk together with the hope that Sunday is surely coming.
God of the never-failing waters, continue to guide our feet and satisfy our needs as we share the burdens of the unbearable pains of the suffering immigrants amongst us. Amen.
Rev. Paul Lee is the pastor of Agape Korean UMC in Garner